The concept of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) draws attention to cognitive changes not severe enough to warrant the diagnosis of dementia. As used today, it covers many pathological disorders and characterises a diverse population of patients who attend memory clinics. Our concern is the underlying heterogeneity. We suggest that it will soon be possible (if it is not already) to identify the underlying pathological disorders before the affected patients meet the criteria of dementia, thanks to specific neuropsychological assessments, neuroimaging, and biomarkers. In particular, patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD), the most important subgroup of patients with MCI, can already be identified before appearance of the fully developed clinical dementia syndrome. Accordingly, this paper proposes diagnostic criteria for "prodromal AD".